tv [untitled] May 3, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT
and he put in place a structure over a period of a year or two, a structure that was designed to deal with a notably different set of problems than conventional war and the kinds of problems we basically faced in earlier periods. and it's hard for people to adjust to that, to understand different approaches. but it was a distinctly different approach. at the time, i should add, i think it was johns hopkins university had a group of people come in, mostly from the previous administrations, the clinton administration and the herbert walker bush administration, and they did an analysis that they ended up describing as dark winter, where they theorized the placing of smallpox in three locations in the united states, major metropolitan hubs with air terminals, and within a year it
concluded, this independent study concluded that there would be more than a million americans dead as a result of that. not a nuclear attack. not a chemical attack, but in effect a biological attack. and not a complicated one. not something that takes a lot of money or a lot of skill sets. imagine a million people -- imagine our country, if the goal of terror is to terrorize, to alter your behavior. imagine what the behavior pattern would have been in our country. there would be martial law. you'd have people guarding their state boundaries to try to avoid -- when i grew up, if you had smallpox or chickenpox or measles, they put a quarantine sign on your house. and you weren't allowed to go out. and no one was allowed to go into your house. this is back in the 1930s. you can imagine the whole
country doing that. petrified. because of the lack of protection against smallpox. and that was very much in the president's mind and in the people in government's minds. that danger. that 3,000 was a terrible, terrible event but that a million, because of smallpox, and the ease, relative ease of imposing that kind of lethality on our society, by people not armed countries, not major armies, navies, or air forces. and so the structure that the president put in place, mixture of things, the patriot act, military commissions, guantanamo bay, these were -- military commissions were old. they'd been going on in our country since george washington. there was nothing really knew about that. but the armed forces of the united states had experience
managing detention of prisoners of war, people who wore uniforms, carried their weapons openly, had a command structure. all they had to say was their name, rank, and serial number and then they could not give you any additional information, nor could you get any additional information unless they decided they wanted to give it to you. that was what the armed forces was organized and trained and equipped to do. we were not organized, trained, or equipped to deal with terrorists. nor in an environment where the lethality, as dark winter suggested, was as grave for our count country. so everybody was dealing with a new circumstance, as was the president. the president made a decision to go after the terrorists in afghanistan, and he with put together a plan with the central intelligence agency where with a very small number of u.s.
military force sxaz very small number of cia people and a lot of assistance, supplies going to the northern appliance and some militias in the south were able to defeat the taliban government of afghanistan in a matter of weeks. they'd had a civil war. here's a country that's landlocked, poor, large illiteracy, had a drought, had 10 or 12 years of soviet occupation. every conceivable problem you can imagine. had a civil war going on for years with the northern alliance trying to fight against the taliban. and in a matter of weeks a handful of special forces people, supplies, and massive air power from the united states were able to achieve the defeat of the taliban and chasing the al qaeda out of the country. it was a country that was run by the taliban, which was i think
recognized by only three nations in the world as a legitimate government. they were using their soccer fields to cut off people's heads instead of play soccer. the women weren't allowed out on the street without a male member of their family. they weren't allowed to see doctors because they weren't allowed to go to school or become doctors and they couldn't go to a male doctor. it was a terrible situation in the country. and i remember shortly after we went into afghanistan, and i had to go around to the neighboring countries and try to find support for our basing and overnight rights and various types of assistance. i went to oman. and there's a sultan named kabus in oman. and he was at the time not in the capital. he was out in a tent, meeting with his constituents. and it must have been 140 degrees in the tent. he sat there just as cool as he could be.
and we were perspiring through three layers of clothes. and he looked at me, and he said -- he said something to the effect -- he was british trained, spoke english perfectly, and he said something to the effect that 9/11 may very well be a blessing in disguise, as terrible as it was. and i said in what sense? he said, well, it may just be the wake-up call for your country and the world that we will take actions and work together in a way that will prevent not 3,000 but 300,000 or 3 million dead because of the use of more powerful and more lethal weapons. the concept of anticipatory self-defense was mentioned, or pre-emption. we've always, as we know, have respected other people's borders
and have thought every country had the right to do what it needed to do within its own country, but so did the other countries, the neighboring countries. with the advent of these lethal weapons, weapons of mass destruction, the idea of waiting until you're attacked to defend yourself is one thing if someone's going to come across your border with conventional forces. quite another thing if you're going to be attacked with the weapons of that lethality. and you don't have the option, really, to wait until you're attacked, as had been previously the case when the worry was ground forces or a bomb or conventional weapon of some kind. that caused the president to fashion what became known as a bush doctrine in part of anticipatory self-defense. the realism that -- the
realization, i should say, that in fact if you wait it's too late. and that's a hard thing, particularly given the unevenness of intelligence and the difficulty of the intelligence gatherers' task. another problem that came up was the problem of language. and words matter. if you think about it, the war on terror is a phrase. it's in my view, and i told the president this, not perfect. first of all, if you say "war," it sounds like you are going to win this with bullets and that it's conventional and that it's a problem for the department of defense, when in fact it is something quite different and it's not going to be won with bullets. it's much more like the cold war. it's much more a battle of ideology and a competition of ideas. and it's going to take all
elements of national power. and therefore, i argued that "war on terror" might mislead people in a sense and might cause people to expect things that aren't realistic. and i struggled with trying to come up with a better alternative, and i failed. i thought about a struggle against violent extremists and different ways of trying to do it, and the president stuck with "war on terror," and that's what it's still called largely today. the other problem is the unwillingness to identify the enemy. if you think about it in the cold war, communism was identified. we pinned the tail on the donkey. we talked about it. we said what it did, how it didn't work, how command economies were inefficient. how unfree political systems were not the kind of systems that unleashed human energy and creativity.
and over time communism was largely left as i guess president reagan said, in the ash bins of history. a little bit left in cuba. a little bit left in north korea. but not much else. i worried that we weren't pinning the tail on the donkey. we weren't calling it what it really is. and it is an element of the muslim faith of zealots and fanatics and extremists and islamists. and that is what it is. and we were scared to death in the administration -- someone asked me one day, what kind of a grade do you give the bush administration on the use of words and language? i said, well, i'm an easy grader. i'd give them a d. i said give us a d, i meant. but why? everyone was very nervous about being seen as anti a religion. and that's understandable
because nobody is anti a religion. and an enormous fraction of the people on the face of the earth are muslims. but if the fact is that it is a small strain of islamists and salifists in that religion that are extremists that are causing the problem and training people to go out to kill innocent men, women, and children, then we make in my view a terrible mistake by not saying it, by not elevating it and calling it what it is. and once you do that, i think it gets clear that we're not going to win that battle of ideas. that battle of ideas ultimately is going to be won within that faith. and we have to figure out how all of the elements of ours and our allies and friends around the world can deal with this threat to nation states. and that's what it is. it is a threat to nation states. the idea of imposing a caliphate and imposing that narrow set of
views and behavior pattern on the world is something that has to be resisted. and the use of force, the training of people to go out and kill innocent men, women, and children to achieve that is something that has to be resisted. and i don't believe you achieve that unless you say what it is, identify it, and find ways to help others in that faith who don't believe that. the overwhelming majority of people in that faith who don't believe it. find ways to help them battle it within their religion in my view is probably the only way it's going to change. i've mentioned anticipatory self-defense. let me mention the freedom agenda. president bush in his second inaugural address said america's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. from the day of our founding we've proclaimed that every man and woman on earth has rights
and dignity and matchless value because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave. advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. it is the honorable achievement of our fathers. now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security and the calling of our time. so it is the policy of the united states to seek and secure the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world, unquote. that's a big order. that is a very big order. and some people thought that that -- frequently, the word "freedom" was miss -- correction.
was interchanged with the word "democracy." and in my view when the word "democracy" is used in the world outside of our country the risk is that people think of the united states and they think of this template and they think that we think that our template of democracy is what we are trying to impose on the rest of the world. and people don't like to have our template imposed on them. they know they have different cultures. they have different histories. they have different neighbors. they have different circumstances. and the use of that word -- i kept trying to get within the administration the use of the word "freer political systems" and "freer economic systems" as something that was moving in the direction that the president's quote properly says. we know that the world is a better place. if you look down from mars on earth, the countries that are doing the best for their people are the countries that have the freer political systems and the
freer economic systems. and they are the countries that tend not to impose their will on their neighbors. i -- let me give you a few examples of this. uzbekistan back in 2005. there was a prison break. i'd gone to uzbekistan, met with karimov. he was a politburo member in the soviet union. he was an authoritarian post-soviet leader. and he had a terrorism problem in his country. there was an islamic movement that was anti the government and operated in that region. and there was a group that stormed a prison and released all the prisoners in andejan. and the government stepped in and put that down. when i met with president karimov, he agreed to let us use
his base to put in our special forces people in afghanistan. we operated there. he was cooperative. we had overnight rights. it was an enormous advantage. to deal with a landlocked country. we couldn't get in there from the sea. we had to have that kind of cooperation from somebody. and particularly a country on the northern border of afghanistan. and he was catching the dickens from russia. russia puts pressure on all those central asian countries. so does china. and it makes their lives very difficult. so he stepped out and agreed to be of help. the united states, with our non-governmental organizations and our human rights groups, saw the uzbek government put down the people who had gone into the prison and released all those prisoners and became judgmental without the facts in my view and said that there should be an
international investigation and the implication was that the karimov government, the uzbek government, had behaved in a manner that was inconsistent with human rights. i knew i didn't know the facts. i wasn't on the ground. but i do know what the result was. the result was that the president of uzbekistan, mr. karimov, threw us off the base. he said, oh, we know who our friends are. he went back to putin. now, why do i make that point? i make the point because if this is good, how we are. that's the theory. like us is good. and this is bad. unlike us. my theory is if someone is on the spectrum and they may be over in the bad side, not the good side, but they're coming the right way, they're moving in the right direction, they're improving human rights, they're moving toward freer political or freer economic systems or both, that's a good thing, and we
ought to encourage that. instead we stuck a stick in his eye and he went right back the other way. so we didn't -- we disadvantaged the united states from a security standpoint. and by the same toeng we disadvantaged the united states and the people of uzbekistan by sending him back and not keeping the forward motion with respect to human rights and freer political and freer economic systems. so it's a matter of how you look at it. now, the reason i come to that conclusion, and it's not the way people mostly look at things in the world. the reason i do is because if we're good, we weren't good, think of our country. think of what we went through. we had slaves into the 1800s. women didn't vote until the 1900s. we had a civil war where we killed hundreds of thousands of human beings. a terrible, terrible civil war. we didn't arrive this way. we're still evolving. and those countries are
evolving. and they don't go from a dictatorial system to a free system in five minutes. it's a tough journey. it's a very tough journey. it was a tough journey for this country. and we've made enormous progress. we did the same thing with pakistan. pakistan, musharraf stepped up, supported us in the war on terror. he was very effective in scooping up terrorists in the cities of pakistan. not any good much at all in the federally administered tribal area. he sent his people in, tried to, got a couple hundred people killed in his army trying to get in there. they've never controlled that part of the -- the border between pakistan and afghanistan is wide open. and our state department decided that it's important to -- for musharraf to go to work in civilian clothes instead of in his army uniform because you know, our president goes to work in civilian clothes. why shouldn't everyone else? and so they pointed a finger,
told him he should get out of the army. he did. and he got thrown out of the country. and the civilian government that came in is weaker, less helpful, and we run the risk of a failed state in pakistan with nuclear weapons. it seems to me we have to use judgment and balance and not expect perfection and not expect other countries to be like we are. because we weren't like we are over much of our history. it is just a fact. so i look to see which direction a country's moving and hope that they're moving in a good direction. a war in the information age. afghanistan was the first war and iraq that were waged in the it 1st century, the information age. enormous contrast to world war ii or korea. black berries, you tube, bearing images instantly all over the world. think of it. it changes everything. and people are amazing human
beings. we adjust and accommodate. we learn to absorb things. i grew up where there was no television. and suddenly there was television. and it changed things. but people adjusted to it. and now we have all of these other things. you know, 24-hour news. we still have a government that's basically an eight-hour-a-day government, five days a week. and we haven't adjusted to the information age. at any given moment of the day or night something's going on in the world that makes a difference to the united states of america. i'll give you one example. there was a report that a koran had been flushed down a toilet at guantanamo bay. and there were riots in three countries and people were killed. dead. gone. now, a lie can race around the world in 30 seconds. and while the truth is -- i
think mark twain said the truth is still pulling its boots on. and what do you have to do? you have to find out, did that happen? we can't lie. terrorists can lie. they have media committees, terrorists do. they sit down and plan media things so that they can have events that advantage them in the world by using the free press and the media. we can't do that, and we don't. but what happened? well, people died. and weeks later "newsweek" magazine, that had carried the report that the koran had been flushed down the toilet at guantanamo, found out the truth, and the truth was it hadn't. it had not happen. it did not exist. and they ran a little thing in "newsweek" that said, oh, to the extent our article was inaccurate, we're sorry. well, sorry? they're dead. i mean, the basic lead in the news business is if it bleeds it leads. and general casey, he tried to
get some positive news stories in iraq, and the papers weren't carrying positive stories. they were putting generators in hospitals and generators in schools and the stock market was open and they had a lot of free press. sew said my gosh, there ought to be some stories. sew hired some people to write accurate stories, not lies, accurate stories. got them in the press. once it was found out in the united states that that was going on, the congress went crazy, he shouldn't be doing that, that's a violation of freedom of speech, and bango, it stopped. we could no longer put accurate stories in. i bet if i ask the people in the united states of america, do a poll, how many people were waterboarded at guantanamo, the answer would be -- some people would say probably 100, 200. others would say 10, 15. others might say -- i think i read three might have been. the answer is none. zero. not a single human being was waterboarded by the u.s. armed forces in guantanamo.
or anywhere else to my knowledge. for the purposes of interrogation. the cia did waterboard three people. but think of how that's all been conflated and think of how the general opinion in america is about waterboarding and guantanamo bay, which is in my view one of the truly impressive prison systems in the world. zawahiri once said, "more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. we are in the media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of muslims." lawfare, briefly. what is it? what's happening is that increasingly lawyers and prosecutors are using the concept of universal jurisdiction to file lawsuits against u.s. government officials and military personnel. they're putting american officials and intelligence
officials at risk of legal action in an attempt to intimidate them and their families to alter the behavior of theirs and of our countries. it is in effect an tempt to criminalize policy differences. it's a trend to subordinate the american people, their elected leaders' actions, as well as the u.s. military to foreign courts and rogue prosecutors. this is a sizable threat to american sovereignty. i'll give you one example. i was at a nato meeting in brussels. and the belgian -- i read in the paper nat belgian legislature's parliament had passed a law that allowed anyone in the u.s. military to be prosecuted in foreign courts. and i thought, well, my goodness. that means we can't have military people go to belgium, where nato is.
if any rogue prosecutor can decide he wants to enhance his public image, he can file a lawsuit, which he did, against general franks as i recall. and i -- so i called him, the defense minister of belgium, and not being a diplomat i was not very diplomatic. and i explained that nato didn't have to be in belgium and that we didn't have to be in belgium. and within a matter of weeks the legislation was defeated, nullified, withdrawn. a and it stopped. but it happens all over the world. my view is it's a danger particularly not just for us but for the world. think of the contribution our military made in the tsunami in india -- indonesia years back. think of what we did with the earthquakes that took place in pakistan. our people went in and did a
superb job, humanitarian job. anytime the u.n. or o.a.s. or any international organization has to deal with a humanitarian crisis, they come to the department of defense of the united states of america, they want help and we give it. we wouldn't be able to do that if this universal jurisdiction candida continued. we wouldn't want to send our military people on humanitarian missions if they were going to be prosecuted in rogue courts all over the country -- all over the world. so it is something that it seems to me even president obama, who apparently is personally authorizing drone strikes, potentially could be vulnerable and i think people ought to think about it. it would inevitably lead to isolationism on the part of our country, and that would be a terrible, terrible thing for the world in my view. last, a few words about our institutions.
at the inflection point of the end of world war ii and the beginning of the cold war in the truman administration most of the institutions that exist today were fashioned. here at home the defense department, the cia, the national security council. internationally, the world bank, the imf, north atlantic treaty organization, the united nations. all of those things happened in that period. and they had been serving us in various ways over the decades since. we reached the inflection point at the end of the cold war and the beginning of the information age in the 21st century some time back, and we have not stepped up to adjust those institutions to fit the 21st century. and we need to. they are not working well. nato's made some changes. it's been enlarged. the defense department made some changes with goldwater nichols. in the old days you'd build bolding air force base right
next to anakostia air base. two air stations within 15 seconds of each other. mindless. just mindless. separate runways, separate hangars, separate air controllers, separate security. it was the dumbest thing in the world. thanks to goldwater-nichols, much greater extent we're creating a joint force and achieving a leverage that's critically important. i think there ought to be a new hoover commission as there was i think in the '40s or '50s to look at these institutions and make recommendations. the problems we face in the world are not problems that are going to be solved by one nation. problems like proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy, drug trafficking. it's going to take us working with other countries and the current institutions, the u.n. with its vetoes, nato basically oriented internally rather than externally, and the problems aren't internal today, they're exal